The psychosocial quality of work determines whether employment has benefits for mental health: results from a longitudinal national household panel survey

by Domenic0404 on September 9, 2015 - 7:59pm


It’s already known that unemployment is associated with health benefits. The goal of this particular study was to explore the mental health effects that working has, taking into account the quality of employment. This longitudinal study used data from 7 155 respondents from an Australian national household survey. Using this longitudinal data they investigated the effect of the quality of their job based on level on control they have at work, demands, complexity, job insecurity, and fairness if pay. They then looked at the effect quality of employment has on mental health. They compared high quality jobs, low quality jobs and unemployment.  To operationalise mental health they used the MHI-5 (Mental health Inventory) which is a method for evaluating mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, behavioral control, positive effect, and general distress.  The study found that there was a higher rate of mental health issues in people working low quality jobs; bad jobs associated were with poor mental health, comparable or worse than unemployment. They found that the best quality jobs lead to the least incidence of poor mental.


In my opinion this study does have some scientific merit. I think the idea of the study is a very good one, meaning there was a gap in psychological knowledge about this subject and I feel like it is legitimate enough to fill that gap; the sample size is large enough to be significant. Of course it would take replication of these results by others to confirm. Moreover, the way they operationalised mental health and job quality was adequate and appropriate. As for my opinion, this study says a lot about our society. The fact that Jobs with poor psychological conditions seem to be linked with mental health problems is quite worrying; especially since unemployment is even less detrimental to mental health. I think, in the light of this study, society could address this issue by having more mental health professionals available for people who are working harder jobs psychologically. I also think that, the new information from this study might ward people off from getting lesser quality jobs and might prompt them to be unemployed for the sake of their mental health (although unlikely, it is a possibility). 

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